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Candidates for president are using online systems

Find a complete list of the 2005 and 2006 National Medal of Technology and National Medal of Science laureates

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The online campaign
Presidential campaign managers are confronting the challenge of how to organize an online presence in a way that maximizes impact and reach while not neglecting grass-roots efforts.

Presidential hopefuls have been using online community sites such as MySpace, YouTube and Facebook to announce their candidacies and host forums. But now that they have burgeoning online presences on a variety of social networks, campaign officials are looking for ways to connect their
candidates’ cyber supporters.

Presidential candidate Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) campaign team is turning to MyLifeBrand, a social-network aggregator, for the answer. MyLifeBrand lets members of different social networks and associated friends link to one another.

After Dodd’s branded custom community is up and running, his supporters will be able to access at once all the campaign’s social-networking sites and the Dodd campaign Web site. The aggregator doesn’t alter the original social-networking sites.

“It’s not a bad thing to be on 23 different social-network sites,” said Brett Schenker, a member of Dodd’s Internet campaign team. “By trying to bring them all into one aggregating system, we’re trying to connect those people who might want to work together to make sure Dodd is their next president.”

Daniel Scalisi, MyLifeBrand’s executive vice president, said that by building a branded community, candidates can benefit from an expanded network and increased control of their messages. Dodd is the first to sign on, but the company said Republican campaigns have also expressed interest.

“I think the [Dodd campaign] found our site to be a useful platform to provide this kind of command-and-control center for all of the different social pages and or social experiences that are created out on the Web,” Scalisi said.
“Brands are embracing social networks, but they are scared of them at the same token,” Scalisi added. “There is so much they can’t control, and this is shifting a little bit of that power back to the brand.”

Joshua Levy, associate editor of TechPresident.com, a nonpartisan Web site that explores how politics and technology influence each other, said campaigns should be careful not to alienate grass-roots supporters.

“The whole thing [with online social networking] is that it’s the supporters that control the message,” Levy said. “If the message is handled in a top- down way and you are not allowed to deviate, people get very upset about that very quickly and they don’t want to participate.”

Need to feel humble?
Here’s a perfect antidote for anybody who feels too big for their britches: Read about the winners of the 2005 and 2006 National Medal of Technology and National Medal of Science laureates, who were honored July 27 in the East Room at the White House.

“The intellectual achievements of these men and women are momentous,” President Bush said at the ceremony. “In a single room, we have thinkers who helped formulate and refine the Big Bang theory of the universe, the bootstrap re-sampling technique of statistics and the algebraic K-theory of mathematics.”
The president said, “I’m going to play like I understand what all that means.”

Here is a partial list of the medalists:
  • The 2005 National Medal of Science: Gordon Bower, for his contributions to cognitive and mathematical psychology and his analyses of remembering and reasoning.
  • The 2005 National Medal of Technology: Alfred Cho, for his contributions to the invention of the molecular beam epitaxy technology and the development of that technology into advanced electronic and photonic production tools to create applications for cellular phones, CD players and high-speed communications.
  • The 2005 National Medal of Technology: Xerox, for  more than 50 years of innovation in  marking, materials, electronics, communications and software that created the modern reprographics, digital printing and print-on-demand industries.
  • The 2006 National Medal of Technology: Charles Vest, for his leadership in advancing the United States’ technological workforce and capacity for innovation by revitalizing a national partnership of academia, government and industry leaders.

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